— Two temple

dedications are among the many highlights for The Church of

Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during 2009. In March,

President Thomas S. Monson, world leader of the 13.5

million-member church, dedicated the Draper

Utah Temple. In August he dedicated the Oquirrh

Mountain Utah Temple, the 130th temple of the church

and the 13th temple in Utah. Prior to the dedications,

nearly 1.3 million people toured the temples during the open

house period. President Monson

also announced the construction of five

new temples during the 179th Semiannual General

Conference in October. The locations are Brigham City, Utah;

Concepción, Chile; Fortaleza, Brazil; Fort Lauderdale,

Florida; and Sapporo, Japan.

In announcing the

five new temples, President Monson said, "We desire that as

many members as possible have the opportunity to attend the

temple without having to travel inordinate distances." He

also said that 83 percent of church members worldwide live

within 200 miles of a temple and that that percentage would

increase as the church continues to construct new temples.

Other news

highlights during 2009 included the following:

New Apostle Called


Neil L. Andersen was called in April to fill the

vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles created when

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin passed away in December 2008.

Church History library dedicated

A permanent and

safe archive for historical documents and other church

records was completed after 15 years of planning and four

years of construction. The new Church

History Library was dedicated by President Monson in

June. This state-of-the-art building was designed and

constructed to meet the high standards for certification as

a "green" building through the Leadership in Energy and

Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, putting it on

track to receive the prestigious Silver designation. But one

of the most notable aspects of the new library is that it is

designed for public accessibility.

Spanish Bible published

Also completed

after years of preparation was the Latter-day Saint version

of the Spanish Bible. The book is one of the most

significant scripture projects published by the church and

includes new chapter headings, footnotes and

cross-references to all scriptures used by members of The

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. President

Thomas S. Monson said of the new Bible, "This new

publication will bring about a significant increase in

gospel scholarship among Spanish-speaking members of the church."

Church leaders visit Eastern Europe

In May and June,

thousands of Latter-day Saints in Eastern

Europe received a visit from President Dieter F.

Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, and

Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

The two leaders spoke to large congregations in Kiev,

Ukraine; and Samara, Yekaterinburg, and Moscow, Russia.

Church leaders attend presidential inauguration

In January, church leaders attended the inauguration of new U.S. President

Barack Obama. President Uchtdorf of the First

Presidency and Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the

Twelve Apostles attended the January swearing-in ceremony as

well as the National Prayer Service at the Washington

National Cathedral.

President Monson presents genealogy to President

Barack Obama

Later in the

year, President Monson and Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the

Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, accompanied by Latter-day

Saint and U.S. Senate majority leader Harry Reid of Nevada,

presented President Obama with five

large leather-bound volumes of his family's history.

President Monson said, "President Obama's heritage is rich

with examples of leadership, sacrifice and service."

President Monson participates in Catholic cathedral's centennial celebration

Church leaders

were invited by the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City to

help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Cathedral

of the Madeleine. President Monson was among the

speakers at the August event. He recounted many times the

two churches have worked together for the good of the

community and the world. Earlier in the year, the Mormon

Tabernacle Choir, Tabernacle organists and the Orchestra at

Temple Square provided a commemoration concert in the


Mormon Tabernacle Choir tour

Summer was a busy

time for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at

Temple Square as they toured the Midwest performing before

enthusiastic audiences in seven major cities. The concerts

included guest conductors chosen from among prominent

residents, including former astronaut Neil

Armstrong. The choir also celebrated a historic

milestone: 80

years of broadcasting Music and the Spoken Word.

It is the world's longest-running continuous network


Aid to disaster victims

An earthquake and

powerful tsunami hit the islands of Samoa,

American Samoa and Tonga in September. Villages were wiped

out, nearly 200 people lost their lives and many thousands

were homeless. Within hours, the church began assessing the

islanders' needs. Seven days later a DC-10 left Utah for the

South Pacific with 60 tons of food, hygiene kits, clothing,

wheelchairs and water containers.

In the

Philippines, hundreds died when Tropical Storm Ketsana

struck in September. The storm triggered the heaviest

rainfall in 40 years, causing significant flooding. Church

Humanitarian Services helped with cleanup efforts and

arranged for clothing, food, hygiene kits, water and other

relief supplies.

Hundreds of thousands participate in Helping Hands projects

The church's Helping

Hands volunteers joined with tens of thousands of others

in the U.S. assisting people who needed help. The April Day

of Service brought people together from all walks of life to

help in a variety of projects from stocking

food shelves to constructing homes. Tens of thousands of

Helping Hands volunteers participated in separate

coordinated service days in Africa and in Brazil. Helping

Hands volunteers also pitched in to clean up after severe

ice storms from Maine

to Texas in February. Numerous other Helping Hands

projects took place across the globe.

Second volume of Joseph Smith Papers released

The second volume



Joseph Smith Papers

was released in September. The new edition of

Revelations and Translations: Manuscript Revelation

Books provides new access to priceless documents dating

from 1828 to 1834. Church historian and recorder Elder

Marlin K. Jensen said some of the documents in the new

volume contain the earliest surviving record-keeping

endeavors of Joseph Smith's life.

Apostle gives speech on religious freedom


religious freedoms are being threatened, said Elder

Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in an

October address at BYU-Idaho. He said members of the church

should not be deterred or coerced into silence by threats.

"We must insist on our constitutional right and duty to

exercise our religion, to vote our consciences on public

issues, and to participate in elections and debates in the

public square and the halls of justice."

Support for nondiscrimination ordinances in Salt

Lake City

The church voiced

support for a nondiscrimination ordinance at a Salt

Lake City Council meeting in November. Michael

Otterson, managing director of the Public Affairs

Department, addressed the council in support of Mayor Ralph

Becker's proposal. While protections in housing and

employment are fair and reasonable, said Otterson, the

Church remains "unequivocally committed to defending the

bedrock foundation of marriage between a man and a woman."

Apostle gives remarks at International Conference on Families

A church apostle

delivered remarks at the International

Conference on Families in Amsterdam in August. Elder

Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said:

"Future happiness and even the future of nations is linked

to children. Families with children need to be re-enthroned

as the fundamental unit of society. We simply must value

children more than we do."

Christmas concert draws tens of thousands


Award-winning singer Natalie Cole and two-time Pulitzer

Prize-winning author David McCullough were guests of the Mormon

Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square for

the annual Christmas concert. The beautifully decorated

Conference Center and the music helped bring the Christmas

spirit to the more than 80,000 people who attended.

Perpetual Education Fund reaches major milestone

The Perpetual

Education Fund reached a significant milestone in

December. Launched in 2001, the fund has made more than

40,000 loans to young men and women throughout the world,

helping them with their educations and careers. PEF

executive director Elder John K. Carmack said he foresees a

time when it will assist many more, perhaps 100,000 people

and beyond.

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